Annie Oakley
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

In late 1800s Ohio, young Annie Oakley (Barbara Stanwyck), known for her ability to shoot a quail cleanly through the head, comes to the attention of Jeff Hogarth (Melvyn Douglas) when she matches (up until the last shot) Toby Walker (Preston Foster), the 'greatest shot in the whole world', in a shooting contest. Hogarth, a partner and talent scout for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, introduces Annie to Buffalo Bill Cody (Moroni Olsen) who agrees to sign her for his show. At first poohpoohed by the rest of the performers (all male) because she is female, Annie soon comes to prove herself, develop showmanship skills, and fall in love with Toby Walker (and he with her). However, when Hogarth and Buffalo Bill decide to bill Annie and Toby as rivals, the resulting conflicts threaten their budding romance.

No. 'Annie Oakley' is based on a story and screenplay by American playwright Joseph Fields, Scottish screenwriter Ewart Adamson, and American screenwriters Joel Sayre and John Twist.

Yes. Annie Oakley [1860-1926], born Phoebe Ann Mosey in a cabin in rural western Ohio, the sixth of seven children, learned to trap and shoot at an early age in order to support her family when her father died from pneumonia in 1866. She married traveling show marksman Frank Butler [1850-1926] in 1876 after competing against him (and winning) in a local shooting contest. They joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show in 1885, and she and Frank toured together around the country and Europe, even performing in front of various heads of state. She died at the age of 66 of pernicious anemia.

The character Toby Walker was substituted for Frank Butler, who died in 1926, just 18 days after Annie's death. The usual answer to this question is that the name change was done to avoid lawsuits. If Butler had an active estate when the film came out (only nine years after his death), the film-makers probably felt it was better to change his name than risk getting sued.

How does the movie end?

Annie returns from the tour of Europe intent on finding Toby, who is currently giving rifle lessons at a arcade in New York. When the show does a stint in New York, Toby attends. Annie doesn't notice him in the audience, but Chief Sitting Bull (Chief Thunderbird) does. He follows Toby back to the shooting arcade, then hijacks a coach back to the stage during the U.S. Calvary show. He picks up Annie and heads back to the arcade, where Toby is currently talking to two young boys who ask him whether he knew Annie Oakley. Toby assures them that he did, then allows them to take a few shots at the sitting ducks, which they miss completely. Suddenly, shots ring out from behind him, knocking down all 23 targets in a row. Toby turns to see Annie with her rifle, and they fly into each others' arms. In the final scene, Toby turns to the boys and exclaims, 'Did I know Annie Oakley!'

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